Daily Riches: Jacking Up the Pace of Life (Carl Honore and Alexis de Tocqueville)

“Modern medicine may have added an extra decade or so to the three score years and ten originally laid down in the Bible, but we still live under the shadow of the biggest deadline of all: death. No wonder we feel that time is short and strive to make every moment count. But if the instinct to do so is universal, then why are some cultures more prone than others to race against the clock? Part of the answer may lie in the way we think about time itself. In some philosophical traditions—Chinese, Hindu and Buddhist, to name three—time is cyclical. On Canada’s Baffin Island, the Inuit use the same word—uvatiarru—to mean both ‘in the distant past’ and ‘in the distant future.’ Time, in such cultures, is always coming as well as going. It is constantly around us, renewing itself, like the air we breathe. In the Western tradition, time is linear, an arrow flying remorselessly from A to B. It is a finite, and therefore precious, resource. …As long ago as the 1830s, the French writer Alexis de Tocqueville blamed the shopping instinct for jacking up the pace of life: ‘He who has set his heart exclusively upon the pursuit of worldly welfare is always in a hurry, for he has but a limited time at his disposal to reach, to grasp, and to enjoy it.’ That analysis rings even more true today, when all the world is a store, and all the men and women merely shoppers. Tempted and titillated at every turn, we seek to cram in as much consumption and as many experiences as possible. As well as glittering careers, we want to take art courses, work out at the gym, read the newspaper and every book on the bestseller list, eat out with friends, go clubbing, play sports, watch hours of television, listen to music, spend time with the family, buy all the newest fashions and gadgets, go to the cinema, enjoy intimacy and great sex with our partners, holiday in far-flung locations and maybe even do some meaningful volunteer work. The result is a gnawing disconnect between what we want from life and what we can realistically have, which feeds the sense that there is never enough time.”

“making the most of your time,
because the days are evil.”
Ephesians 5:16

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • What does “making the most of your time” mean to you?
  • Are you always in a hurry to “cram in as much consumption and as many experiences as possible?”
  • Could striving for more actually be providing you with less?

For More: In Praise of Slowness by Carl Honore

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Thanks for following my blog! I appreciate it. – Bill (Psalm 90:14)

 

Daily Riches: Consumption as a Sacrament (Thomas Merton, Noam Chomsky, Bob Dylan and Oliver Wendell Holmes)

“We live in a society whose whole policy is to excite every nerve in the human body and keep it at the highest pitch of artificial tension, to strain every human desire to the limit and to create as many new desires and synthetic passions as possible, in order to cater to them with the products of our factories and printing presses and movie studios and all the rest. …Advertising treats all products with the reverence and the seriousness due to sacraments.” Thomas Merton

“You cannot control your own population by force, but it can be distracted by consumption.” Noam Chomsky

“Advertising signs they con
You into thinking you’re the one
That can do what’s never been done
That can win what’s never been won
Meantime life outside goes on
All around you”
Bob Dylan, “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)”

“I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity.”  Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

“Then [Jesus] said to them,
‘Watch out! Be on your guard
against all kinds of greed;
life does not consist
in an abundance of possessions.’”
Luke 12:15

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you “distracted” by consumption? Are you a passive consumer of advertising?
  • Are you sensitive the attempts of advertisers to feed your ego? …to influence and control you?
  • Are you on guard against common premise that life consists “in an abundance of possessions?” What are you doing to live more simply?

Abba, help me see through the illusions of my day, through all the artificially induced complexity, to the true simplicity on the other side.

For More: The Seven Story Mountain by Thomas Merton

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: The Revolution of Tenderness (Pope Francis, Pete Scazzero and Martin Luther King, Jr.)

“The great Jewish theologian Martin Buber described the most healthy or mature relationship possible between two human beings as an ‘I-Thou’ relationship. In such a relationship, I recognize that I am made in the image of God, and so is every other person. This makes them a ‘thou’ to me. They have dignity and worth, and are to be treated with respect. I affirm them as being a unique and separate human being apart from me. In most of our human relationships, however, we treat people as objects – as an ‘it’. In an ‘I-It’ relationship, I treat you as a means to an end – as I might a toothbrush or a car …as if [you] were subhuman. …The priest and the Levite [in Jesus’ story in Luke 10] did not make the connection that emotional maturity (loving well) and loving God are inseparable. They missed the ‘thou’ lying on the side of the road and simply passed him by.” Pete Scazzero

“The Gospel tells us constantly to run the risk of a face-to-face encounter with others, with their physical presence which challenges us, with their pain and their pleas, with their joy which infects us in our close and continuous interaction. True faith in the incarnate Son of God is inseparable from self-giving, from membership in the community, from service, from reconciliation with others. The Son of God, by becoming flesh, summoned us to the revolution of tenderness.” Pope Francis

“We as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin …the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered.” Martin Luther King

“no one can tame the tongue. …Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father,
and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God.
…Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!”
James 3:8-10

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you see loving God and loving others as “inseparable?”
  • Do you sometimes realize that you have degraded someone’s status to that of a mere object?
  • How could a “revolution of tenderness” undercut racism, materialism and militarism?

Abba, help me treat those made in your image with the dignity they deserve.

For More: Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Pete Scazzero

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: Simplicity … Clearing the Way to the Best (Robert Lawrence Smith, Maya Angelou, Montaigne, Simone Weil, Arthur Conan Doyle)

“Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.” Maya Angelou

“‘What do I need?’ is simplicity’s fundamental question, a question that rubs against our natural proclivity for acquiring things, a questions few of us feel ready to address. America’s favorite weekend activity is not participating in sports, gardening, hiking, reading, visiting with friends and neighbors. It’s shopping. More often impelled by acquisitiveness than by necessity, we set out to buy or just to look and dream. We gain a false and fleeting sense of self-esteem from our ability to purchase expensive things for ourselves and our children. The vibrancy of our busy malls has made them virtual community centers. We leave boredom and emptiness behind as we browse through their glittering corridors of stuff. Yet many of us have learned that acquiring too much stuff can get in the way of happiness, that it can obscure what is best in us, lead us back to boredom and emptiness, corrupt our children’s values. We often step out of the mall blinking in the sunshine at the end of an almost-vanished afternoon feeling unsatisfied, regretful, grumpy. … Montaigne wrote, ‘All other things – to reign, to hoard, to build – are, at most, inconsiderable props and appendages. The great and glorious masterpiece of man is to be able to live to the point. Simplicity helps us to live to the point, to clear the way to the best, to keep first things first.” Robert Lawrence Smith

“So complex is the human spirit that it can itself scarce discern the deep springs which impel it to action.” Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

“All sins are attempts to fill voids.” Simone Weil

“Then [Jesus] said to them, ‘Watch out!
Be on your guard against all kinds of greed;
life does not consist
in an abundance of possessions.’”
Luke 12:15

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Do you “discern the deep springs which impel” you away from simplicity? towards acquisitiveness? Are you trying to fill a void? What would that be?
  • Are you “on guard against all kinds of greed?”
  • Have you found a way to withdraw from cares that “will not withdraw from you?” How?

Abba, help me heed Jesus’ stern warning. Free me of a need to acquire and own, and from revelling in an abundance of things.

For More: A Quaker Book of Wisdom by Robert Lawrence Smith

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: The Revolution of Tenderness and the Evils of Racism, Materialism and Militarism (Pope Francis, Pete Scazzero and Martin Luther King, Jr.)

“The great Jewish theologian Martin Buber described the most healthy or mature relationship possible between two human beings as an ‘I-Thou’ relationship. In such a relationship, I recognize that I am made in the image of God, and so is every other person. This makes them a ‘thou’ to me. They have dignity and worth, and are to be treated with respect. I affirm them as being a unique and separate human being apart from me. In most of our human relationships, however, we treat people as objects – as an ‘it’. In an ‘I-It’ relationship, I treat you as a means to an end – as I might a toothbrush or a car …as if [you] were subhuman. …The priest and the Levite [in Jesus’ story in Luke 10] did not make the connection that emotional maturity (loving well) and loving God are inseparable. They missed the ‘thou’ lying on the side of the road and simply passed him by.” Pete Scazzero

“The Gospel tells us constantly to run the risk of a face-to-face encounter with others, with their physical presence which challenges us, with their pain and their pleas, with their joy which infects us in our close and continuous interaction. True faith in the incarnate Son of God is inseparable from self-giving, from membership in the community, from service, from reconciliation with others. The Son of God, by becoming flesh, summoned us to the revolution of tenderness.” Pope Francis

“We as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin …the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered.” Martin Luther King

“no one can tame the tongue. …Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father,
and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God.
…Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!”
James 3:8-10

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Do you see loving God and loving others as “inseparable?”
  • Do you sometimes realize that you have degraded someone’s status to that of a mere object?
  • How could a “revolution of tenderness” undercut racism, materialism and militarism?

Abba, help me treat those made in your image with the dignity they deserve.

For More: Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Pete Scazzero

_________________________________________________

These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

 

Daily Riches: Consumption as a Sacrament (Thomas Merton, Noam Chomsky, Bob Dylan and Oliver Wendell Holmes)

“We live in a society whose whole policy is to excite every nerve in the human body and keep it at the highest pitch of artificial tension, to strain every human desire to the limit and to create as many new desires and synthetic passions as possible, in order to cater to them with the products of our factories and printing presses and movie studios and all the rest.” Merton

“You cannot control your own population by force, but it can be distracted by consumption.” Noam Chomsky

“Advertising treats all products with the reverence and the seriousness due to sacraments.” Thomas Merton

“Advertising signs they con
You into thinking you’re the one
That can do what’s never been done
That can win what’s never been won
Meantime life outside goes on
All around you”
Bob Dylan, “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)”

“I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity.”  Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

“Then [Jesus] said to them,
‘Watch out! Be on your guard
against all kinds of greed;
life does not consist
in an abundance of possessions.’”
Luke 12:15

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • To what degree are you “distracted” by consumption? Do you passively embrace the advertizing?
  • Has marketing captivated and mesmerized your ego, deceiving and manipulating you while “life outside goes on all around you?”
  • Are you on guard against the temptation to embrace the idea that life consists “in an abundance of possessions?” What are you doing to live more simply?

Abba, help me see through the illusions of my day, through all the artificial complexity, to the true simplicity on the other side.

For More: The Seven Story Mountain by Thomas Merton

_________________________________________________

These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”